Societal collective memory seems to be exposed to processes tending to its very rapid erosion. The alternative resource is the international information systems on which much collective consciousness is supposedly based. Their most striking feature is their fragmentation, whether as systems almost completely independent of each other, or individually in their isolation of subject categories from each other. There is also a functional gap between the logical subject hierarchies and the network of operational realities. As a consequence of these limitations, society has both a selective memory exhibited in its documents, and a restriction on integrating new learning into its behavioural patterns. This condemns society to continually reencountering the same kinds of problem.